U.S. Embassy officers in Moscow on Thursday met with WNBA star Brittney Griner, who has been held behind bars in Russia since February, the Biden administration stated.
Griner was sentenced to 9 years in jail for drug possession in August, and her attraction was lately rejected by a Russian court docket.
“We’re advised she’s doing in addition to may be anticipated underneath the circumstances,” White Home press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre advised reporters aboard Air Pressure One.
State Division spokesman Ned Worth additionally confirmed the assembly, tweeting that U.S. officers “noticed firsthand her tenacity and perseverance regardless of her current circumstances.”
Jean-Pierre stated the U.S. continues to press Russia to launch Griner and U.S. Marine Corps veteran Paul Whelan, who was sentenced to 16 years in a Russian jail on espionage expenses that his household have referred to as a setup. Secretary of State Antony Blinken stated in July that the U.S. had made a “substantial proposal” for the discharge of Griner and Whelan.
“I may let you know that within the subsequent weeks, regardless of a scarcity of excellent religion negotiation by the Russians, the U.S. authorities has continued to observe up on that provide and suggest different potential methods ahead with Russians by means of all obtainable channels,” Jean-Pierre stated. “This continues to be a high precedence.”
Griner, a two-time U.S. Olympic champion and eight-time WNBA all-star, was arrested in February after arriving in Russia with vape cartridges that contained hashish oil. At trial in August, Griner stated she “by no means meant to harm anyone, to place in jeopardy the Russian inhabitants or violate any Russian legal guidelines.” Her arrest and conviction got here amid heightened tensions between the U.S. and the Kremlin over Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.